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Keywords:

  • regional climate;
  • grasslands;
  • precipitation;
  • temperature

Abstract

Understanding the impacts of future climate change in Kansas is important for agricultural and other socio-economic sectors in the region. To quantify these impacts, seasonal trends in air temperature and precipitation patterns from decadally averaged monthly output of 21 global climate models under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B scenario used in the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change Assessment Report 4 are examined for six grid cells representing Kansas. To ascertain the performance of the models, we compared model output to kriged meteorological data from stations in the Global Historical Climate Network for the period from 1950 to 2000. Agreement between multimodel ensemble mean output and observations is very good for temperature (r2 all more than 0.99, root mean square errors range from 0.84 to 1.48 °C) and good for precipitation (r2 ranging between 0.64 and 0.89, root mean square errors range from 322 to 1144 mm). Seasonal trends for the second half of the 20th century are generally not observed except in modelled temperature trends. Linear trends for the 21st century are significant for all seasons in all grid cells for temperature and many for precipitation. Results indicate that temperatures are likely to warm in all seasons, with the largest trends being on the order of 0.04 °C/year in summer and fall. Precipitation is likely to increase slightly in winter and decrease in summer and fall. These changes have profound implications for both natural ecosystems and agricultural land uses in the region. Copyright © 2009 Royal Meteorological Society